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Less-known Agatha Christie short stories - but top quality!
on 3 September 2010
Agatha Christie's output was phenomenal. She is of course best known for her stories of Hercules Poirot and Miss Marple, as well as other detective novels, but in this volume there are some of her lesser-known characters: Tommy and Tuppence, Parker Pyne and Harley Quin.
Tommy and Tuppence (for younger readers, tuppence is what two old pence was known as) are husband and wife, who take on the characteristics of contemporary fictional detectives when solving cases. As Miss Christie says in her 1953 introduction to the stories, even she had by that time forgotten who some of these other detectives were (the stories were published in the 1920s), so apart from Sherlock Holmes and Hercules Poirot himself, other references are likely to mean nothing. But they're entertaining nevertheless.
The Harley Quin stories concern the aforementioned Mr Quin, who turns up mysteriously whenever a murder has been, or will be, committed. He is always in league with Mr Satterthwaite, an elderly gentleman who is, frankly, a snob, and not a very engaging character. But the plots are sufficiently clever to maintain the reader's interest.
Mr Parker Pyne does not always investigate murders. Rather, his job is to 'make people happy' (which is Walt Disney's mission statement). I didn't find them as engaging as the previous 2 sections.
But all in all, well worth a read.